November 2018 Newsletter
This month's newsletter is a bit of a mish-mash of topics. First,
there's the sad news that Bialetti SRL, inventors and manufacturers
of the original moka pot, are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Renato Bialetti invented the octagonal aluminium coffee maker in
1933, in the middle of the Great Depression. In the decades before
9-bar espresso was a thing, it enabled thrifty Italians to produce
café quality coffee at home.
The increasing use of capsule machines for fast, convenient espresso
has decimated the market for the old fashioned moka pots and
domestic espresso machines. At a time when coffee consumption is on
the rise, sales of roasted coffee for domestic use have dropped
precipitously. All the extra consumption is going into cafes and
Unfortunately for Bialetti they were more or less a one trick pony,
although they did sell over 100 million moka pots. They never really
diversified into other areas, and the rapid changes to the market
caught up with them.
In the USA the FDA has decided to block the requirement that coffee
(beans, ground and brewed) come with cancer warnings in California.
I wrote about this in the April 2018 newsletter, and also my opinion
of the lawsuit that led to the requirement: "That these lawsuits,
which are at heart the attempted and actual legalised extortion of
money from large companies, can go ahead and even succeed says a lot
about the state of the USA these days."
It seems that someone in the FDA has used a commonsense approach and
decided that any unproven potential problems with coffee are
outweighed by the proven potential benefits. Now the happy news is
that coffee is considered somewhat preventative for dementia, may
prevent some cancers and is known to improve liver function. The FDA
has stated that "strong and consistent evidence shows that in
healthy adults moderate coffee consumption is not associated with an
increased risk of major chronic diseases, such as cancer, or
premature death, and some evidence suggests that coffee consumption
may decrease the risk of certain cancers. The federal government,
not California, is the nation's expert on food safety and
Now on to this month's special, which is very special indeed. One of
the flavour attributes of coffee is "Winey", that is, tasting the
coffee reminds you of a particular wine. It's a fairly rare
attribute, but unusually prominent in this coffee:
Kenya AA Kii
The winey analogy is that of an un-oaked chardonnay. This coffee has
a dried apricot and almonds aroma, and opens with a distinct white
peach acidity. This persists through a complex stone fruit mid
palate and a full creamy body to a persistent peach aftertaste.
This is the best Kenyan coffee I have ever tasted (and after 33
years in the business, that's saying quite a bit.) Most Kenyas,
including our normal Kenya AA, have a recognisable blackcurrant
overtone, and tend to vary along a spectrum of acidity and intensity
but with the same basic taste. This one is so out of the box that I
couldn't have picked it as a Kenyan in a blind cupping, but is
The only problem is the very limited quantity. I was going to ration
it, but with December and our equally excellent Christmas coffee
coming up so quickly decided not to.
Until next month